Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Not so Happy Valley

Has anyone been watching Happy Valley on BBC1 and not found themselves quite traumatised by it?

I found the opening ten minutes of the third episode genuinely shocking with the demise of the young female police officer. Not in a narrow mouthed viewer just waiting for a reason to complain way but in an involuntary hand to mouth in horror way. Episodes four and five were of a similar calibre, shocking and compelling. I cannot recall watching a programme which came with a 'sensitive viewer' warning that I took any notice of, but these episodes have depicted the purest badness that exists in some people.

Crime drama's are generally either a tame 60-90mins where you know the baddie will get found out or over the top blood and gorefests trying to score yuk points. Sally Wainwright's writing is often uncompromising small town, character centred drama but the acts of violence in this seem conversely more shocking by their understated nature. Even though you know the situations are going badly I've found quite viscerally horrible and the emotions around the characters painful to watch. It's hard to believe she also wrote Last Tango in Halifax and I feel for any poor soul who has tuned in looking for a gentle drama as they are probably needing counselling now.

It will be a hard series to end powerfully so I am torn between being on tenterhooks waiting for tonight's final episode and wondering if I'm too old to watch it from behind the sofa!

Happy viewing!


  1. I have been recording this to watch, but I am not so sure about it now! If I remember I will come back and let you know what I thought once I have seen it! xx

  2. I can not watch crime dramas, I can not stand all that stuff in my head but my husband loves them.

  3. I've not been watching but read a review which said pretty much the same as you. It doesn't really sound my cup of tea, I prefer to pretend such evil doesn't exist I think! Anyway, how about a cushion to hide behind, easier than the sofa...

  4. Interesting to read your review of this series. It is just beginning to be advertised here as the series is about to commence for the summer tv season. I didn't like the promotional ads because they seemed violent and nasty so it wasn't something I was planning to watch. My initial impressions reinforce your review so it isn't something I will be watching. There are so many horrible things happening to people in real life, I could never understand why someone would want to concoct more of it to feed to the tv viewer. There is enough real crime in the world, let's not encourage more of it by 'normalising' it on television.
    Thanks for the warning. :-)


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